Dear colleagues:

In his inaugural budget address today, Gov. Bruce Rauner recommended a 31.5 percent fiscal 2016 budget reduction for higher education – a proposal that, if enacted, would cut general revenue funding (GRF) for the University of Illinois by nearly $209 million.

It is important to note that this is the first step in the legislative budget process and we will work with the governor and members of the General Assembly to make what we believe is a strong case to support the University programs that help lift our state.

Our overarching goals are to sustain our academic quality and the value of University degrees; retain the faculty and staff who are the core of our excellence and our ability to recruit the world’s best; preserve our ability to conduct pioneering research that fosters innovation, economic growth and serves the needs of the citizens of our state and nation; and continue delivering critical services such as health care. A reduction in the appropriation at the magnitude proposed will certainly impact our core missions.

At the same time, reality dictates that we immediately begin preparing for the impact if the legislature ultimately approves a large-scale reduction in funding. We will work with our Board of Trustees, campus leadership, and our faculty and staff to look deeply at all that we do and make the difficult programmatic and organizational decisions that would be required.

The University stewards its financial resources carefully and has weathered past funding reductions with its quality intact. But we do not have the resources to overcome reductions of this magnitude without harm.

The University of Illinois is an investment that transforms the lives of students and drives progress for our state, and we will continue to vigorously advocate for its interests as the budget process unfolds.

My thanks to all of you for what you do each and every day to support this great university. And I will keep you posted throughout this eventful legislative session as developments occur.


Robert A. Easter